TUMALO, Ore. - The Tumalo Feed Canal is a part of the Tumalo Irrigation District's project to pipe their irrigation system.
This $3 million project covers just a portion of the canal system.
According to Tumalo Irrigation District Manager Ken Rieck, 7.6 miles of the system are piped, out of 11.6 miles in total, and this project will add almost another mile to that total.
Rieck said Monday it's needed to ensure water sources are utilized to the fullest extent.
"The districts lose ... anywhere from 40 to 50 percent of the water that they divert before it gets to the farms, because water soaks into the ground from these (leaking) canals," Rieck said.
By piping the canals, they are not only able to conserve water, but can also restore stream flows,
In this case, that means a stronger flow for Tumalo Creek and Crescent Lake.
The funding for this project comes from the Bureau of Reclamation Federal Source, the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, the Oregon Department of Water Resources and the Tumalo Irrigation District.
Rieck said they are hoping to get more funding from the federal government to help pay for some other smaller piping projects they need to get done within their watershed.
"We've got quite a bit of project left to go that we can complete in the 2018 and 2019 season and in the 2019 and 2020 season, so we've got work lined up for us, and once those main canals are complete, then we'll start doing the laterals," Rieck said. "We have about 65 miles of laterals that need to be piped."
Those laterals are smaller canals that run off of the larger ones, and they require much smaller piping.
Rieck said he hopes that with a commitment from local and state governments they will be able to secure the funding needed to get working on those projects fairly soon.
And it's an investment that should last well into the future.
"They have been advertising this HDPE material to last about 300 years, or at least 100 years," Rieck said. "But in their destructive testing, it well exceeds 300 years in durability."
Rieck said the project is slated to be completed by April 1, in time for irrigation season to begin.